DENVER – Derek Roy pushed the puck past Peter Budaj with 2:27 left to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 6-4 victory over Colorado after the Avalanche had rallied from three goals down to tie.

Roy’s goal came moments after Buffalo went on its second power play of the night, the result of a holding penalty against Antti Laaksonen.

Jason Pominville centered the puck, and Roy found it on his stick in the middle of a scrum to beat Budaj. Former Avs star Chris Drury added an empty-net goal with 3 seconds left to seal Buffalo’s ninth win in 11 games.

It was a nice rally for the Sabres, who took a 4-1 lead and chased Colorado goalie David Aebischer after the first period, only to watch the Avalanche battle back and tie it in the third.

The tying goal came on one of the most exciting plays in hockey – a penalty shot that Marek Svatos slid past Martin Biron with 11:09 left to make it 4-4. Svatos got his first career attempt after Brian Campbell wrestled him down while he was heading unhindered toward the net.

With the Avalanche holding all the momentum, Colorado defenseman John-Michael Liles and forward Dan Hinote each had point-blank chances against Biron over the next few minutes, but Biron stoned them both.

Then, suddenly, Buffalo took control and had several good looks against Budaj, who gave up his only goal of the night to Roy.

It marked the second straight bad game for Aebischer, who let four of the 16 shots he faced pass. Including a 5-2 loss to Vancouver last week, Aebischer has allowed seven goals in a little more than his last two periods on the ice.

Of course, it wasn’t all Aebischer’s fault.

Buffalo came out aggressively, picking a pair of fights in the first six minutes, including one triggered when Adam Mair took a run at Hinote along the boards while Hinote was already being engaged by another Buffalo player. Mair drew a two-minute roughing minor to go with the fighting penalty, but the Avs didn’t take advantage and the message certainly had been sent.

In fact, Jochen Hecht turned a sloppy turnover into a short-handed goal on the ensuing power play, beating Aebischer even though the goalie had a clear look at the play in front of him and plenty of time to set up.

A few minutes later, Avs defender Rob Blake flailed weakly in an attempt to clear the puck from the front of the net, but missed and left it for Pominville, who made it 3-1.

Colorado’s comeback was highlighted by a great play by Milan Hejduk, who skated behind the net, made a blind pass to Joe Sakic, who saw Alex Tanguay for a goal early in the third. That set things up for Svatos to tie, but the Avs never could take the lead and lost in this, their first game this season against an Eastern Conference opponent.

Notes: Avs D Brad May was scratched with a sore groin. … The Avs honored Pierre Turgeon before the game for recently scoring his 500th career goal.

AP-ES-12-04-05 2343EST


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